By Jason A. Smith
The education and law-enforcement communities in Henry County recently recognized a local business leader, for his continued support of their efforts.
Scott Willett, co-owner of Willett Honda South in Morrow, received a Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) Partnership Commendation Monday, during a meeting of the Henry County Board of Education.
"For several years now, Mr. Willett has made an outstanding contribution to honor our teachers and staff," said Henry Schools Superintendent Ethan Hildreth. "We are truly grateful for his ongoing support."
In 2010, Willett donated a Honda Civic to the Henry County Teacher of the Year, according to Tony Pickett, spokesman for the school system. "In addition, Mr. Willett presented financial gifts to the first and second runner-up," Pickett said.
The spokesman added that recipients of the school system's Henry Employee Recognition Observance (HERO) awards -- which include media specialists, school nutritionists, transportation, and service and support personnel, have received financial gifts from Willett.
The Henry County Sheriff's Office, on Feb. 23, gave Willett an Honorary Deputy appointment and a Sheriff's Community Service Award. Sheriff Keith McBrayer said the accolade was given in recognition of Willett's philanthropic support of his agency.
"On rare occasions, we recognize individuals who have demonstrated outstanding community leadership with an appointment as an Honorary Deputy," McBrayer said. "Our recognition of Mr. Willett is for his interest in helping the residents of Henry County."
Sheriff's Lt. Jack Oakman oversees the department's Professional Standards Unit. He said Willett made a contribution, in 2010, to assist with an annual Christmas party for Sheriff's Office employees.
"As a result, employees and guests didn't have to pay for the dinner," Oakman said.
The lieutenant added that Willett is one example of numerous local business leaders, who continually display their appreciation for law enforcement through monetary donations, gifts and special programs.
"We depend on Henry County, as a community, to support many of the programs we provide for young people in the county," Oakman said.
"Many businesses provide materials or discounts, or even money, for programs such as the Sheriff's Summer Camps, youth fishing tournaments and the Shop With a Deputy program."
The lieutenant added that Willett also has a long record of donations to other local public service agencies, including the Henry County Police Department and Henry County Fire Department.
"I feel it's important for these brave men and women to get the recognition they deserve," said Willett. "I'm proud that I could offer financial assistance to help ...[make that] happen. These individuals often go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure Henry County remains a safe place to work and live."
-- Henry Daily Herald staff writer Johnny Jackson contributed to this article.